Lyrics and Melodies

A tribute to the myriad ways words inspire us, MWF18 has expanded the program to include an incredible array of singers, songwriters, musicians and performers. For lovers of lyrics and melody, dive into a world of music at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival.


Sally Seltmann: Lovesome: Is it possible to separate your heart from your art, or are the two irrevocably entwined? Join singer-songwriter and author Sally Seltmann (Lovesome) in conversation with ABC and Eurovision superstar Myf Warhurst about love, the creative process and women who make art. 25 Aug, 11.30am


Andrew P Street’s Literary Singalong: For writers who sing, singers who write, and random karaoke winners with a calligraphy pen. Join Andrew P Street with Dave Graney, Christopher Hollow and Jenny Valentish for a wine-fuelled chat about the connections between music and words. 25 Aug, 5pm


Duets: Join us for duets of live music and conversations on creative craft, as some of Australia’s hottest new musicians including Mojo Juju, Miss Blanks, Kaiit, Alice Skye and Julia Jacklin take to the MWF18 stage. 25-26 Aug, 1-2 Sept


Jimmy Barnes: Musical Memory: Which songs from Jimmy Barnes’s vivid and rich youth formed the cerebral jukebox to his life? Join the rock icon and bestselling Australian musician as he spins 7” records and reveals all to major music buff Myf Warhurst. 26 Aug, 7pm


They Can’t Kill Us Til They Kill Us: Join American poet, essayist, and critic Hanif Abdurraqib, Peruvian-Australian music video director and writer Triana Hernandez, and New Zealand poet, playwright, and musician Courtney Sina Meredith in a conversation and performance about the role of music in activist movements, and the lyricism of resistance. Hosted by Areej Nur. 26 Aug, 8.30pm


Our Words & Our Melodies: Grace your ears with the spoken word of African poets Hawiine, Manal Younus and wāni, accompanied by the traditional instruments of the continent with Anbessa on the kirar and Haftu on the masenqo. 27 Aug, 6.30pm


Paul Kelly: Other Peoples’ Words: Quintessential Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly presents an evening of musical performance featuring songs he has written to ‘other people’s words’. Highlighting the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Les Murray, Judith Wright, WB Yeats and more, this very special event will also include a conversation about the art of words with writer and poet Maxine Beneba Clarke. 29 Aug, 6pm


Live Music: Grand Salvo: Grand Salvo is the musical project of songwriter and composer Paddy Mann. His 2008 album Death tells a story about animals via music and narration. The album will be presented in full for the first time since its launch. 31 Aug


Live Music: Steve Kilby: Australian music and literature icon, frontman of The Church, painter, songwriter, committed vegan and animal rights advocate Steve Kilbey treats audiences to a live performance of selected works from his career of 43 years. 1 Sep, 7.30pm


Music & Writing: Three vastly different musicians and authors – memoirist and songwriter Dave Graney (guitar), comedian and memoirist Hung Le (violin) and literary fiction author John Tesarsch (cello) – discuss the influence of music on their writing, with live performances. Hosted by Lee Kofman. 1 Sep, 1pm


Farewell Old Friend: A Singalong: All rise and take voice! The final event in the MWF Animal Church is a joyous full-throated singalong, led by chorus master Henry Wagons who will guide the congregation in an almighty farewell to the animal friends we’ve loved and lost. Hosted by Emilie Zoey Baker. 2 Sep, 4pm


Closing Night Party: You Are There: The final night of MWF celebrates what it means to let go, as six writers pay tribute to something or someone loved and lost in a night of ritual, healing and farewell. Featuring a full musical performance by the soaringly beautiful Megan Washington. Hosted by Rafeif Ismail. 2 Sep, 7pm